why you should read Handmaid of the Lord for the month of may

May is Mary’s Month.
Why is May Mary’s month? Read Gerald Manley Hopkins’ poem The May Magnificat: “Her feasts follow reason / Dated due to season.”  The implications of all of this is that your month of May is really Mary’s month.  Don’t sneak away from her and sheepishly forget it’s her month.  You wouldn’t forget to call your mother on Mother’s Day, right?  Then, don’t forget to let May be Mary’s Month.

Many are the ways of letting this month be Mary’s.  I leave you to find those, but one thing I do recommend—read Handmaid of the Lord by Adrienne von Speyr (preview it here or buy it here).  Not only is it Adrienne’s finest one-volume work but it summarizes the whole of Adrienne’s thought and mission.  So one motivation for reading it would be to learn the meaning of Adrienne, but more importantly for this month, reading it would help you learn the meaning of Mary.

Here are the first sentences.  Tell me what you think in the comments section below:

“As a sheaf of grain is tied together in the middle and spreads out at either end, so Mary’s life is bound together by her assent” (7).

Mary’s assent to the Lord binds the whole of her life such that “From this assent her life receives its meaning and form and unfolds toward past and future” (ibid.). Mary’s meaning and form burst outward from her assent.  

“This single, all-encompassing act accompanies her at every moment of her existence, illuminates every turning point of her life, bestows upon every situation its own particular meaning and in all situations gives May herself the grace of renewed understanding.  Her assent gives full meaning to every breath, every movement, every prayer of the Mother of God” (ibid.)  
Everything that we understand Mary to be, do, and say finds her assent at its source.  But, the assent must be understood as one of freedom, “This is the nature of an assent: it binds the one who gives it, yet it allows him complete freedom in shaping its expression” (ibid.).  Her assent binds her to the Lord, yet it frees her to express herself dramatically much like the sheaf is bound by the cord around its middle but the sheaf bursts freely outward from the binding cord.

Do pick up and read Handmaid of the Lord and tell me what you think.